The joke’s on everybody
Release Date: OUT NOW! $ 3.99 per issue | Publisher: DC Writer: Scott Snyder Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion
Three years on, and DC’s decision to get Scott Snyder to write their main Batman title is still the most successful aspect of the New 52 reboot. Right from the start, Snyder and artistic partners Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion have shown an instinctive talent for telling energetic and surprising Batman tales, and their latest shows exactly how ambitious they’re prepared to get.
Having recently redefined Batman’s origin story with the epic “Zero Year”, it would have been easy ( and understandable) for Snyder and co to rest on their laurels for a while. Instead, they’ve hit the accelerator with “Endgame”, a tale that celebrates Batman’s 75th anniversary while also giving us a new perspective on his most infamous arch- enemy.
“Endgame” opens with an unexpected fight, as the Justice League abruptly go after Batman with lethal intent. Unfortunately, it turns out that the League has been affected by an advanced form of Joker toxin – and while Batman narrowly survives this brutal showdown, he then discovers that his grinning nemesis is thinking much bigger than before…
At the time of writing we’re four issues into this six- issue arc, and while Snyder isn’t expanding the story to the size of “Zero Year”, he’s achieving an impressive and apocalyptic scale. From the opening Justice League fight to Gotham’s descent into Joker- instigated chaos, it’s a brilliantly thrilling adventure that also presents us with a daring and alternative take on the Joker’s origin story.
Whether “Endgame”’ s unsettling developments are sticking around or due to be refuted at the story’s climax remains to be seen, but Snyder’s portrayal of the Joker is even stronger this time around. No longer the horror- show nightmare from the “Death Of The Family” storyline, the Joker has acquired a new face but is also more dangerous and calculating than ever, with Snyder not shying away from the story’s more disturbing moments.
This is fast- paced, full- throttle superhero comic storytelling at the top of its game – a little rough around the edges at times, but with a pulp energy that keeps driving it forward. Capullo and Glapion’s art helps massively with this, blending kinetic action with stylish exaggeration and detailed inks, switching effortlessly from dizzying fights to scary horror. The back- up strips written by James Tynion IV are a little less strong, but still add effective and powerful details to the reinterpretation of the Joker.
“Endgame” is currently heading for a spectacular climax, continuing Snyder’s impressive work on the title while also acting as a worthy 75th anniversary celebration. One thing ’s for sure – when Snyder and Capullo’s run eventually ends, whoever takes over for them on Batman is going to have one hell of an act to follow. Saxon Bullock Scott Snyder says that “Endgame” will be the last time he uses the Joker. What’s next? “A very sharp left turn”, apparently…
Yeah, we probably have, on balance.